Charter school debate looms over raising state caps

Home E Local News E Charter school debate looms over raising state caps
Article Author: Dave Eisenstadter
Publication Name: The Gazette
Article Date: 12/19/2015
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NORTHAMPTON, MA — As government officials debate whether to lift a cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state, the local chapter of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is doing research of its own on the subject.

The nonpartisan organization will likely take about a year to research its position on charter schools, Nancy Polan said during a forum Thursday at the Northampton Senior Center about how charter school payments affect the Northampton schools. State figures show that Northampton paid $2.25 million in charter school tuition for about 200 students while receiving about $359,000 in aid during fiscal year 2015.

She said she and fellow League of Women Voters member Margie Riddle have already spent a year reviewing how the finances of charter school funding work because they were interested in how it affects the local Northampton district.

Riddle retired from being principal of the R. K. Finn Ryan Road Elementary School in Florence more than two years ago, and Polan, a former high school science teacher in New Jersey, is also retired.

“The funding is affecting the sending districts to such a degree that was perhaps an unintended consequence to the Massachusetts law,” Riddle said. “There wasn’t an expectation that this would affect local districts’ budgets and make it impossible to do the things they want to do.”

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